What you need to know:
- Government suspended operations of the non-governmental organisation in August as a move to tighten its grip on civil society.
High Court in Kampala is on Wednesday expected to commence the hearing of the case in which Chapter Four’s licence was indefinitely suspended.
Government suspended operations of the non-governmental organisation in August as a move to tighten its grip on civil society.
The case for judicial review of whether the decision of the National Bureau for Non-Government Organisations, in suspending Chapter Four was lawful, will be heard by the head of the Civil Division of the High Court, Justice Musa Ssekaana.
The case arose in October, when Chapter Four sued National Bureau for Non-Government Organisations, challenging its decision contained in an August 18 letter, accusing it of operating in “non-compliance” with the law.
“The decision of the respondent (NGO Bureau) communicated in a letter dated August 8, 2021, concluding that the applicant (Chapter Four), is operating in contravention of the Non-Governmental Act, 2016, is irrational, unreasonable, unlawful and is void,” the petition reads in part.
“The decision of the respondents (NGO Bureau) that the applicant (Chapter Four), ceases operations with immediate effect was high handed, arbitrary, illegal and ultra vires the Non-Governmental Organisations Act,” the petition further read.
In an affidavit of Ms Zahara Nampewo, the chairperson of Chapter Four and Mr Peter Magelah, a lawyer working with the same organisation, contended that the NGO Bureau suspended its activities to enable comprehensive investigations into its operations.
Ms Nampewo and Mr Magelah state in their affidavit that the NGO Bureau copied the said letter to various entities including their bank Absa, Financial Intelligence Authority, ordering them to halt operations with Chapter Four.
According to Chapter Four, the actions of the NGO Bureau are without factual basis on grounds that prior to the closure, they were filing their annual returns with the latest being in January and that they were fully compliant with the law.
“Despite attempts to file the annual returns for 2020 and submit an application for renewal of the organisation’s NGO permit, the NGO Bureau leadership refused to receive them,” Chapter Four avers.
Some of the organisations that were affected by NGO Bureau decision, had been involved in an observation operation during the disputed presidential election in January that saw President Museveni returned for another five-year term in office.
But in his defence, Mr Stephen Okello, the executive director of NGO Bureau, accuses Chapter Four of having failed to file annual returns for 2020, hence his move to suspend its activities.
Some affected NGOs
1.Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)
2. Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
3. Citizens’ Concerns Africa
4. Elohim Power Transforming Africa
5. Orone Foundation
6. Light Concepts
7. Public Policy Institute
8. Otubet Youth United Development Organisation
9. Support Girl Child Uganda
10. Saints Preparation Ministries
11. Adoration Ministries
12.Islamic Da-awah and Orphanage Foundation
13. Jesus Shines Youth Ministries International
14.La Borne Missionary Centre Uganda
15. Wanyange Child Support Foundation
16.St Francis Foundation for the Poor
17. Ray of Hope International Uganda
18. Mindset Change Development Organisation
19. Liberty International Foundation
20. Foundation for Women Empowerment for Sickler Aid
21. Karambi Action for Life Improvement
22. Tech Plus Love Foundation
23. Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations
24. Chapter Four Uganda 2016- 2020
25. Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) 2019-2020
26. Femrite Uganda Women Writers’ Association 2017- 2020
27. African Humanitarian Action 2017 - 2020
28. Safe Places Uganda Foundation (SPU) 2017- 2020
29. Citizens Platform for Democracy and Accountability 2017- 2020
30. Growth Networks Uganda 2017- 2020
31. Pallisa Civil Society Organisation Networks 2017- 2020
32. Citizens Election Watch-IT (CEW-I1) 2017, 2019, 2020
33. Youth Line Forum Uganda 2017- 2020
34. Arise Africa International 2018-2020
35. Dotwa Africa 2018-2020
36. Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence 2018-2020
37. Centre for Conflict Resolution 2019 - 2020
38. Youth Equality Centre 2019-2020
39. Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS)
40. Rural Action Community Based Organization
41. Uganda Help Florida
42. Centre for Sustainability Innovation and Research
43. Environmental Governance Institute Uganda
44. Graffen Organization, Butimba Uganda
45. Kwataniza Women’s Organization
46. Twimukye Women’s Organization
47. Witness Radio Uganda
48. Youth for Green Communities
49. Self-worth Initiative
50. VZW Eight
51. Adepr Pentecostal International Church Uganda Ltd
52. Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action (IDEA)
53. Network for Active Citizens
54. Leadership Square Africa